TV & Radio
TV and radio listings will be updated every Friday
Richard E Grant explores how tales told by Eastern merchants in the Middle Ages came to be so popular in the west. It’s in great part down to French orientalist Antoine Galland, who 300 years ago translated the stories of Sinbad, Ali Baba and Aladdin from a 14th-century Syrian manuscript.
Bettany Hughes considers the idea of forgiveness down the ages, an exploration that begins with Christ’s dying words, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” Followed by The Story Of Jesus (10.00am), the first of two documentaries in which Biblical scholars trace Christ’s life.
Monty Don continues his exploration of Italian gardens. This week he’s in Florence and out in the Tuscan countryside. As with the plots on display in last week’s show, there’s a formality to these Renaissance-designed spaces, although more flowers this time. Expect plenty of art treasures too, notably at the sculpture-strewn Giardino di Boboli.
The people of Northern Ireland thought they would be safe from Nazi bombing. Then, in April 1941, the Luftwaffe bombed Belfast in a trio of deadly and devastating raids. Seventy years on, in a documentary first shown on BBC One Northern Ireland, survivors recall their experiences.
The two-part series concludes with a consideration of Christ’s life as a revolutionary teacher, the guise that led to his crucifixion in Jerusalem. Alongside drama-doc segments, academics consider such subjects as how the Church has sometimes tried to downplay the true significance of Jesus’s teachings.
Tony Robinson and his dig-happy cohorts head for the bleak Northumberian coast and Bamburgh, a spectacular castle that utterly dominates its surroundings as it sits atop a rocky plateau. The team wants to know more about the Saxon history of the fortress.
In February 1958, a plane carrying the Busby Babes, the young Manchester United side that many thought would dominate the European game, crashed in Munich on the way back from a European Cup tie. A moving drama that sees the tragedy in great part from the perspective of Bobby Charlton. David Tennant stars as United’s inspirational coach, Jimmy Murphy.
Historian Adam Smith considers how the schism of the American Civil War is still visible in US politics today. It’s there, for example, in the ‘neo-Confederates’ who re-enact the inauguration of Jefferson Davis, and see clashes between the southern states and the federal government through the prism of events 150 years ago.
Martin Sixsmith continues his epic history of Russia. We’ve reached the era of Ivan the Terrible, a firm believer in absolute rule. Subsequent weekday shows look at the rise of the Romanovs, the history of Siberia, Peter the Great and St Petersburg.
BBC political editor Nick Robinson profiles William Gladstone, who was prime minister four times between 1868 and 1894, and the oldest man ever to hold the office. Also today, don’t forget that Making History (Radio 4, 3.00pm) continues its current run.
Neil Oliver’s excellent series concludes with the archaeologist examining the influence of the Romans on British life. Along the way, he sees the last traces of a row of Roman shops in London, evidence of a chariot track in Colchester and the remains of an African woman who lived in York.
Dr Lucy Worsley considers the history of the bedroom. In the past, we learn, people didn’t enjoy much privacy when they slept. Rather, they bedded down in the communal space of the great hall. Preceded by Petworth House: The Big Spring Clean (BBC Four, 8.30pm), which finds Andrew Graham-Dixon helping with the dusting.
Author L Frank Baum’s ambition was to write a true American fairy tale. With his Oz stories, as this biographical documentary explores, he succeeded. Also tonight, Sir Bobby Charlton: Football Icon (BBC Two, 9.00pm) profiles the Manchester United and England star, a survivor of the Munich air disaster.